Yew and Me
There were just four of them now: hidden away in the disused store room down on level six. It was fairly easy hiding from Karpova’s zombies as they were pretty stupid simply because they hadn’t been programmed to use whatever initiative they had once possessed. Even the ones who had been highly intelligent women now gave the impression of having borshch for brains. Lina Zuyeva stopped thinking of the zombies and licked her lips as her mind drifted to beetroot soup: she hadn’t tasted decent borshch since she had left Earth fifteen years before. The woman sighed and thought about how she really missed the stuff—they couldn’t cook it on Mars, not properly, because there was no beef.
She shrugged, there were only the four of them now: Yuri, the paramedic; Katerina, the computer programmer; Nicol, the American exchange student and herself, Lina, the geologist. There had been others but they had been captured shortly after Karpova’s zombies had caught the the two drones from Hive Philae. As far as she knew the four of them were the last free humans on the loose in the whole of the Martian Oblast. She shook her head slowly. A paramedic, a programmer, a student, a geologist and no borshch... Not much of an army to take on a control-freak and her three hundred-plus zombies. Lina thought bitterly.
In the corner of the room Katerina was bent over a keyboard tapping away at a makeshift computer terminal which was hacked into both the base system and Mars-Net. So far they were invisible, thanks to Kat’s skill as a jack-leg systems engineer and part-time hacker.
Lina glanced over at her and smiled, but the woman was too engrossed in the lines of code that she was subverting to notice. At the moment, Yuri and Nicol were out raiding one of the hydroponics bays for fresh food, Kat had made the raid possible by hacking the security cameras... The drones were too channelled to notice that the feeds from both the targetted hydroponics bay and the connecting corridor were looped to play recorded material from yesterday. If Karpova wouldn’t trust her drones to think then she would pay the price.
Lina went back to her task of constructing smoke bombs and stun grenades: they had pistols and an assault-rifle, but she wouldn’t permit them to be used. Over two thirds of the zombies out there had been their friends and colleagues (or in Yuri’s case, his family) so no one really wanted to use lethal force against any of them.
Suddenly Katerina glanced at the monitor showing actual feed from the corridor cameras then called out. “It’s okay Lina: Yuri and Nicole are back,”
Seconds later, the door swung open and their two friends slipped in laden with bags of fruit and vegetables. Yuri grinned and gave her a thumbs up—all was well.
Later, after they had eaten a meal of vegetable broth... It was always vegetable broth, Kat called Lina over too the bank of computer equipment. “Time for your video call!”
As the geologist waited, Kat used the keyboard to make a few final adjustments. “Okay, we’re piggy-backed on a data transfer between here and some base on the Meridian Plane. We’re secure but I’d advise you to keep it short.”
Lina nodded as the screen in front of her lit up. “Hi,” she said, “this is Radio Free Tsiokolski. To who am I speaking?”
On the screen Lily Yew swapped places with the duty operator and in a very dry voice, announced. “Me!”
Lina sighed with relief. “Hallo, Lady Yew, good to see you!”
The face on the screen seemed to stare at her for a few seconds as she was appraised then Lilith Yew spoke. “Wait there!” She instructed before slipping out of her seat to be replaced by two other red-heads who squeezed together to fit into the camera’s field of view.
Lina gave a sigh of relief as she recognised the two Ward sisters. “Good to see that you’re both safe,” She said, smiling with relief.
The Wards stared but didn’t smile back. Instead, Yseult issued an instruction. “Show me your forehead!”
Lina used her right hand to brush her drooping fringe up and hold it clear.
“Now show us behind your left ear.” Added Ciara.
Lina nodded then twisted her head around to comply with the request.
From somewhere off camera Lina heard Lady Yew demand. “Well?”
As one the Ward sisters half turned and spoke in unison. “ It’s Lina Zuyeva and she seems okay!”
Lily replaced them and the conversation began in earnest.
Over at what Master had proclaimed was to be henceforth known as The Meridian Hive, Doctor Sarn was so happy that he whistled while he worked. He straightened his instruments and nodded amiably to Magda-Slave, who had been an experienced operating theatre nurse before Master had liberated her from the stresses and strains of the depressing and thankless work in the large German hospital where she had been employed.
Magda giggled and scampered over to the ‘patient’, a youngish looking woman who was strapped securely to a rather unusual operating frame of Sarn’s own design.
The patient, who had been sedated, but never the less was still conscious, looked pleadingly at the nurse. “What are you doing?” She demanded in a slurred voice.
Magda answered as she began massaging a rather smelly gel into the woman’s neatly trimmed pubic hair and then into her armpits. “Master does not like slaves to have any body hair.”
The woman looked horrified and gasped. “But I’m not a slave!”
Magda chuckled. “You think? But don’t worry, the conditioning will get rid of all of those silly ideas. In fact in your case it will get rid of almost everything that passes for thought!” She smiled reassuringly in her best nurse-patient manner. “Imagine! You’ll never have to think again!”
The ‘patient’ didn’t look convinced. “Will it hurt?”
The nurse reached over and gently brushed a lock of hair away from her forehead. “Only a little!” She answered in a kindly voice that would have sounded reassuring in any other circumstances. Then she added. “But not as much as it will when Doctor operates on you!”
“What? No!” Pleaded the woman. Then she stopped and thought. “What’s he going to do to me?”
Sarn glance across at the woman who was panicking and trying to thrash around. “Better inject her with a total motor block. They’re so much easier to work on when they’re paralysed.”
Then while Magda-Slave injected the drug into the patient’s spine, Sarn walked over and smiled down at her reassuringly. He read the code ‘D9’ code written on the woman’s shoulder. “Ah, I see here that The Master wants you to be totally ‘Dollified’.”
The woman suddenly stopped resisting and stared at him. “What’s that?”
Doctor Sarn adopted his best patronising manner as perfected by senior medical practitioners over the course of several centuries and used by them to talked down to their patients in such a way as emphasize their inferiority. “Dollification means that I am going to begin by widening your hips by about six inches which will make your waist look smaller. Next I’ll pad your butt and breasts so that your body stays in proportion. I’ll use silicone gel for this so that it can’t be removed. I’ll also use the same stuff to pad out your lips—the ones around your pussy as well as those on your face—this way they’ll always be nice and puffy. You’ll be a living, walking, talking sex-doll with what we call ‘a hyper-feminine body’, won’t that be nice?”
The woman screamed and thrashed around in desperation, but presently became quiet as the drug began to act. Then, after nodding to Magda, Sarn patted the patient affectionately on the cheek and the two of them commenced their work.
Four hours later, they moved her into a little ward to recover before she was conditioned and converted into a total Bimbo for Master to enjoy..
After a lunch break, Magda escorted the next young woman into Sarn’s medical playroom. He eyed the newcomer critically. She was a tall, slim blonde who looked no more than eighteen or twenty although he was fast realising that bodies had less of a tendency to sag on Mars than on Earth... Just one of the many advantages of a low-gravity environment.
The blonde’s broad face had a slightly puzzled expression, almost as if she had little idea of what was going on. Sarn chuckled. Hell! With the amount of will-suppressant that Magda has injected into I doubt if she can even remember her own name!
He smiled as he reached forward to fondle her sizeable breasts, observing her expression as he did so. “Do you like that?”
The woman glared and tried to slap his hands away. “No!
He shrugged. “No matter. The ‘S2’ written on your shoulder means that you are going to become a basic Security Drone.”
“The usual, Doctor?” Magda enquired as they strapped the girl to the operating frame.
“Yes, breast reduction so that they don’t get in the way, then we re-balance her hormones to reduce her sex-drive: we don’t want that to get in the way either!”
Sarn reached down and rubbed his completely useless penis through the thin skin-tight material of the black body suit that Master required him to wear at all times... As usual, there wasn’t even the slightest twitch or tremor.
Lilith Yew, controller of Hive Philae and de facto ruler of the planet Mars, could not sleep. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. She thought after lying awake for an hour or so, and even though she did not have a classical education, she was fast beginning to appreciate the consequences of that passage. Shakespeare had certainly understood the dilemma facing those holding power when he penned those lines. When was it that he wrote Henry IV? Five hundred years ago? Six hundred even? How long will it be before Mars produces a major dramatist of her own? She asked herself.
rebecca, Lily’s faithful advisor, confidant and self-appointed bed slave was worried. Mistress was concerned therefore she was concerned also, it could not be any other way. Although Lily was being careful not to disturb the faithful slave who shared her bed, rebecca would not fall asleep until after her beloved Mistress did.
“What is troubling you, Mistress?” She asked after an hour or so.
Lily rolled over to face he slave. “I’m sorry, Rebecca, I tried not to disturb you.”
“You didn’t, Mistress.” rebecca answered as she slipped a protective arm around Mistress Lily.
Lily sighed. “I am very thoughtless, I should have realised that you would feel my pain.”
rebecca changed position and tenderly kissed her forehead. “The whole hive shares your pain, Mistress Lilith. Please tell me what troubles you.”
Suddenly Mistress and slave hugged each other so that there bodies were pressed tightly together. Lily sighed. “Oh Rebecca, what would I do without you?”
The comforting hug lasted a couple of minutes and as it broke Lily felt her mouth being crushed as rebecca gave her a passionate kiss. Afterwards she asked a profound question. “We are at war with the other hives, aren’t we Mistress?”
“Well,” Lily said very gently, “possibly at war with the other two Mistresses, not with their hives or even their slaves.”
rebecca kissed her again. “A Mistress and her slaves are extensions of each other, a hive consists of both.”
Lily paused and marvelled at the diplomatic way that she was being corrected. A Mistress and her hive are extensions of each other... She mused... rather like a brain and the body to which it is attached.
Lilith frowned. “The brain and the body!” She mused.
“Mistress?” The bed-slave asked.
Lily suddenly hugged Rebecca to her and then rolled onto her back so that the slave was lying on top of her naked body. She positioned a hand behind the woman’s head and used it to bring there mouths into contact. This time the kiss lasted several minutes.
Lilith had never thought of herself as a lesbian, in fact she had never even considered the possibility before she had ousted Isis Pines. She had always been too heavily involved in her research, her career and her responsibilities to become romantically, or even physically involved with anyone. But now, as she began to make love with Rebecca it somehow felt right! She wasn’t just having sex with her devoted bed-slave, she was making love to the whole of Hive Philae.
Afterwards, when the orgasms had petered out and the passion had run its course, Lilith Yew, Mistress of Mars knew exactly what she must do... She had to protect her hive and there was only one way to accomplish that.
The line stood rigidly at attention facing the woman who was their Mistress and Goddess. There were five of them, the same five whose failed mission a few years earlier had resulted in Lilith Yew seizing control of Hive Philae.
Lily hesitated before speaking as she could feel a small tear welling up in her eye—a tear of pride. “Just like old times isn’t it, Eve?”
The tall, slim brunette’s face remained motionless as she answered with a clipped. “Yes, Mistress.”
Her face may have lacked emotion but Lily could have sworn that her eyes twinkled.
“This mission is every bit as important as the one that you undertook against Isis Pine a few years ago.” Their Mistress stated. “Once again the future of our colonisation project is in danger. Two of Earth’s most notorious slavers have managed to establish themselves on Mars and there are more poised to follow them: all they are waiting for is the return of the shuttles currently sitting on the ground at Tsiokolski. Once they are refuelled and launched we will have eight months grace at most before we are swamped.”
She paused... Why am I delivering a pep-talk? They are drones and don’t need it. She felt her face crease into a wry smile. No, it’s not for them, its for me.
She smiled grimly. “Right Ladies, the object of your mission is to enter Hive Tsiokolski and seize Mistress Karpova herself so that she can be removed from control of her hive. We have several advantages that we didn’t possess at the time that Yseult and Ciara carried out their abortive recce a few weeks back. Firstly, we know that all the airlock mechanisms are monitored by the computer system. Secondly, we have detailed floor plans produced for us by refugees from the base. And thirdly, there is a small group of free residents still on the loose and they can over-ride the security net when we need them too.”
Five pairs of wide shining eyes watched her unquestioningly as she spoke. She hadn’t asked for volunteers: there would have been no point as every slave within the hive would have stepped forward. Slave! God, I hate that word, Lily thought during the short pause, but what else should I call them? It’s what they happily call themselves.
“You will enter by way of a disused mine tunnel that opens out in the side of the river valley about two miles to the east of the base. The Russians used to use it for dumping mine waste. As you know, mining stopped on the site about six years ago, I doubt that Karpova knows it exists, especially as our friends have deleted it from the maps...” And the briefing went on and covered the ways and means that would be used in the kidnapping..
Two days later, about a quarter of the way around the planet it was early afternoon at the newly renamed Meridian Hive a small working party was busying itself out in the dome, still gathering up the dead vegetation and piling it into huge compost heaps which they soaked with water so that bacteria could get to work and begin rotting the stuff down.
Mars might look bone dry, but it had plenty of water, most of it conveniently locked up as ice although there were more than a few underground salt lakes. So all in all, it was just a matter of extracting and purifying it, although the members of the working party didn’t think about this... They were the Master’s drones after all and she didn’t want them to think about anything much in case it confused them. So when the giant aeroplane swooped down and landed just outside, they naturally ignored it.
The plane taxied up to the dome and came to a halt only feet away, which they ignored also. Then when twenty-five black-clad figures wearing body armour over their exosuits piled out and half a dozen of them began to cut their way into the dome, the drones ignored this too. It wasn’t until the attackers were through and the leak-detectors began to shriek that the women finally looked up and vaguely wondered what was happening.
As the intruders sprinted the twenty or so yards to the internal airlocks the detectors once more fell silent as the dome’s multiple layers successfully sealed themselves. Naturally, the drones returned to work: for as far as they were concerned, nothing had happened.
The raiders rapidly piled into the airlock and the door closed behind them. Then as the air pressure was the same inside as out, they were able to open the inner door immediately’. They piled out of the airlock and were into the massive stone-built block within twenty seconds of entering the dome... So-far-so-good! Thought Lily who was leading this phase of the assault personally.
They turned left and headed for the staircase that lead up to the offices and living areas where, according to information received from Karpova, The Master had recently taken up residence. Then after the twenty yards had been covered in long, bounding strides they piled through a smaller door and followed the staircase up to their target—The Master, himself! Down below the rest of the assault group, accompanied by one of the Russian women expelled by Karpova, was making its way through several of the airlocks. This group was led by one of Lily’s security drones who had once been a soldier in the Brazilian Army’s Special Forces and was able to place the whole of her experience and expertise at her Mistress’s disposal.
Up above, Lily’s group moved rapidly along the top corridor slamming open any closed doors as they went. Most of the rooms had a thin film of pink dust over everything showing them to be long-disused. Onwards they moved, past a room whose floor was strewn with sleeping mats, past one tricked out as a basic living room and then a bathroom with gold fittings and taps. They had to be close! Very close!
Finally, after passing another sitting room, Lily’s drones slammed through an ordinary-looking door and piled into a bedroom where they had spread out to allow Lilith Yew to enter. She removed her helmet and was she confronted a surprised looking Asian woman. The Master is a woman!?
“What the Hell?” Demanded both Lily and the Asian woman, almost simultaneously.
The woman sat up. “Who the fuck are you?” She demanded.
“I’m Lilith Yew, and I was going to ask you the same thing.” Lily stated, slightly bemused.
“I am the Master!” The woman stated. “Now get the fuck out of my bedroom!”
So, Lily mused, the information received from Madam Karpova is accurate, or at least the bit about The Master always taking an after-lunch nap was. But why had she led me to think that the Master was a man?
Although the Asian woman had already she sat up, the slave who was next to her did not move. “Just who the Hell do you think you are and what the fuck are you doing in my bedroom?” She shrieked once she realised that Lily wasn’t going to obey her previous order.
Lily gave a wry smile as she recalled her first meeting with a slaver five years before: that one had been much more polite and ladylike.
But before Lily could answer, the woman threw back the covers revealing that she was totally naked. Her voice almost snarling as she demanded. “Did Karpova send you? Getting greedy is she?”
“This is my planet. No one sends me anywhere.” Lilith Yew answered quietly. “I was just going to order you to get off Mars until I saw that!” She pointed at the figure of a helpless slave in the corner. The woman was strapped to a frame and her back criss-crossed with angry red wields some of which were still oozing blood.
“Consider yourself under arrest, whoever you are!” Lily hissed menacingly.
“I told you, I am The Master!” The woman snarled.
Lily chuckled. “No! You aren’t! Not any more!”
The woman moved suddenly and looking back, Lily was never sure just where the automatic pistol had come from. But what she was sure of was the fact that it was pointed right at her stomach.
“You think?” Sneered the black-haired woman triumphantly. “Lilith Yew: former leader of the planet Mars, do you have any famous last words?”
As one, the black-clad figures accompanying Lily sprang into action and in one fluid movement, formed a solid line between Lily and the woman who threatened her. Then acting as one, they each drew a taser and pointed it at the naked woman.
“You will not harm our Mistress.” One of them instructed quite unnecessarily.
“If I where you I would put that gun down because if you shoot any of my girls I will personally strangle you!” Lily stated in a voice that was colder than a Martian night.
The woman hesitated then laughed and fired twice. The drone directly in front of Lily grunted and jerked as the bullets struck her body armour, she staggered and dropped her taser but fought to hold her position in front of her Mistress.
The other slaves acted as one, with reflexes enhanced by their conditioning, they fired. The Master squealed as the four darts struck her and she received the full discharge of their weapons before folding back onto the bed twitching but unconscious.
One of the drones retrieved the pistol while Lily checked her injured guardian. The drone was alive and her mistress breathed a sigh of relief for there was no blood... The layers of Neumalon in her body armour had stopped the low velocity rounds... She would have some painful bruises and possibly a cracked rib or two but there seemed to be nothing that an enforced rest would not put right.
The woman, formally known as ‘The Master’ grunted and twitched again a minute or so later as she became fully conscious. Confused, her eyes flickered open and she found Lilith standing over her, rage writ large across her face. In the mean time the slave had been cut down from the frame and was siting at the foot of her mistress’s bed, obviously in pain and with a confused expression on her face.
Lily knew that she had won as she gazed pityingly at the woman who demanded. “Why do you pick on me? We’re both Hive-Mistresses we should be working together!”
Lily fought to keep the revulsion out of her voice as she spoke to the woman. “I don’t know who you are and I don’t much care but I have made a few enquiries on Earth about your past. I discovered that you are one of the worst kind of slave owners, one who enjoys torturing and mutilating helpless human beings. I also know that you are so thoroughly evil that the Indonesian government mounted a full-scale military attack on you compound in Java two years ago which is why you moved to Russia.”
The woman struggled into a sitting position and shrugged, her naked breasts jiggling as she did so. “So? Is it my fault that the idiots got the wrong idea about me?”
Lily ignored her. “I’m going to have you enslaved so please think of a name that your new mistress can use to address you.”
“Bitch!” Shrieked the woman, her face a mask of defiance.
“That will do nicely.” Lily chuckled. “For the rest of your life you will be known as ‘Bitch-Slave’!”
Suddenly, they heard the sound of another pistol being fired close by. Lily spun around, ordering her drones to secure the prisoner before heading out of the room.
The plane had flown across the bottoms of a series of the dry lake beds at an altitude of about a hundred feet for mile after mile and as close to the slopes of the western side as the pilot dared. With transponders turned off and a flightpath well below the horizon of the Tsiokolski Facility’s air traffic radar, someone would have to be looking directly into the Echus Chasm, as the final lake bed was called, to even know that the plane was there. Even this possibility had been thought about so the pilot touched down a shade over one hundred miles from the target where the raiding party and their buggy were unloaded. After that it was a relatively easy drive across the lake bed and as far up the river valley as they needed to go.
Early the next morning, after spending the night in the insulated vehicle, the girls disembarked and surveyed the next stage of the mission with mild trepidation, and Eve realised that if she had faced the six thousand foot climb in the days before she was enslaved she would have been scared shitless. Now it was a different matter. This was just another obstacle that Mistress Lily needed them to overcome and as always, Mistress’s wish was their command.
Saira, who had done some rock climbing back on Earth when she was a student, took the lead. The slope started off gently as they made their way over the several billion years worth of rock debris and scree that had been dislodged from the cliff and formed a slope at its foot. The main hazard was slipping on loose rock but this was less of a problem on Mars because of the low gravity. All being physically fit meant that they were able to cover the first thousand feet in well under an hour. After this they were onto the water-cut cliffs which were much, much steeper.
After the second hour had rolled by Saira called a halt and they squatted on one of the many ledges to rest. They had kept in the peek of condition by exercising daily over the last five years, they might be slaves, but they were still Lilith Yew’s agents and still part of her Intelligence Bureau: a fact that gave them pride.
Eve, the mission commander, turned to Saira. “How long do you estimate?”
Saira made a point of glancing up at the slope. “Four thousand feet to go to the tunnel entrance... Allowing for difficult bits and rest stops, I reckon less than seven hours. We should be in the mine tunnel well before sunset.”
Eve nodded. They might have survival gear in their packs, but she sure as hell didn’t want to spend the night outside on this rock-face and climbing in the darkness was completely out of the question. She grinned, but this went unseen by the others because of her tinted visor. “Okay, Saira, lead on when you’re ready. The sooner we get into that tunnel, the happier I’ll be”